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Jun 19, 2018

Water Sector Policy Dialogue

DATE: 22nd June, 2018
THEME: UNLOCKING THE POLICY AND REGULATORY BOTTLE NECKS IN THE WATER

SECTOR ENTERPRENUERSHIP

Water coverage in the country currently stands at about 55% indicating that a staggering 21 million Kenyans, approximately 45% of the population, lack access to clean and safe drinking water. Kenya understands the important role the water sector plays towards economic development and as a country, has set lofty goals of attaining universal coverage by 2030 to meet both the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the vision 2030 targets. Climate Change and population growth are seriously impacting water resources, and as such water is a central issue in the Sustainable Development Goals.

Access to clean and affordable water in Kenya continues to dwindle even with the raging floods in the last couple of months. With a population of more than 46 million people, over 40% of Kenyans still consume untreated water from sources such as ponds, rivers, shallow wells, dams and streams. According to Water.org, only nine out of 55 public water service providers in Kenya provide reliable water supply, leaving people to their own devices in searching for appropriate solutions to this basic commodity.

Where there has been what is referred to as failure of the public sector to deliver basic services, the next step in most economies is the entry of the private sector and even the privatization of public institutions to improve the delivery of basic services. It is however evident that entrepreneurship in the sector is facing various headwinds.

With very few innovations and investments geared towards the increase in access to water. Investment in the water sector has been largely on bottling of drinking water and not increased access to water. This meeting seeks to demystify the bottle necks in water entrepreneurship.

One of the services Kenya Climate Innovation Centre (KCIC) offers to its clients is ensuring the creation of an enabling environment for the businesses under its thematic focus. This cannot be possible without interaction with the entire sector in the country as the change and development of policy is a sector wide agenda and not specific to a single player in the ecosystem.

Since inception in 2012, KCIC has focused on three thematic areas renewable energy, agribusiness and water management. From 2012 to date, KCIC has important to note that the water sector has been very lean as compared to

the other two sectors. Of the 200 enterprises only about 10% of this have been within the water management sector.

This policy dialogue has been informed by the experience of KCIC while engaging with water entrepreneurs and the interaction with other players in the sector both from the public and private sector. The big elephant in the room is the question on whether there is a business case for the water sector entrepreneurship in Kenya. We are looking beyond the bottling of water that is a preserve of the more privileged citizens to look into the access to water in the informal settlements and rural areas especially the ASAL’s.

The main issues surrounding water are access to water, reliability of the water supply, quality of water and the cost of the water. Now that water is a devolved function and there have been several institutional, policy and regulatory changes surrounding the water sector these policy dialogue has been designed to tackle the challenges that are baring the development of the sector especially commercialization of the sector.

The objective of this forum is to have an interactive session with experts and to have workable recommendations to improve the commercialization of the sector. It will also offer the enterprises an opportunity to interact with relevant private and public institutions in the water sector and create awareness on the policy, legislative and institutional framework.

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